Blackfeet 03

Run Time: 

Establishing shot: Robert L. “Rice” Crawford speaking with an unknown interviewer.

Named locations: Black Wolf Gallery, Glacier National Park, Browning Montana
Major themes covered:
Traditional Blackfeet Tipi construction, Blackfeet headdress construction, Blackfeet artist critique

Native activities shown:  Tipi building, Headdress construction

Individuals Named: Robert L. “Rice” Crawford, Neil Parsons, Kingsley “King” Kuka
Native language spoken: None
Noteworthy elements: 

Robert L. “Rice” Crawford was a Blackfeet Tribal member and traditionalist. He is known for his knowledge of building traditional Blackfeet Tipi’s, headdresses, and various other traditional regalia. This knowledge was passed down to him by his grandparents through oral tradition. In this video he shares his knowledge with an unknown interviewer and several Blackfeet children. His pupils are among his children who carry on his teachings, along with non-immediate family members such as, Lyle Heavy Runner.

Kingsley “King” Kuka, was born in 1946, his tribal name was Black Wolf. He was a Blackfeet artist and poet, known for his paintings and lithographs which he called “Kuka-graphs.” In the 1970’s he owned the Blackwolf Gallery in Browning Montana which housed Native American artworks from people such as, Neil Parsons, another Blackfeet artist and painter. King was one of the first graduates from the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1962. He inspired an entire generation of American Indian Artists, and his work is recognized internationally; it is said the Vatican holds one of this paintings in their prestigious collection. In the video he talks about the painting styles of Neil Parsons, and himself. In 2004, King Kuka passed away after a stroke at Great Falls Benefit Healthcare Center, in Great Falls, Montana. His work is still being sold in art auctions, and through various avenues online.

Neil (Tall Eagle) Parsons was a Blackfeet artist born in 1938. He received his MFA from Montana State University in Bozeman. In this video he is not shown, but King Kuka analyses his painting technique and style. Parsons became one of the faculty members within the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His work is well known in the U.S. and Europe. Parsons is alive and continues to paint and instruct at various colleges and Universities in the United States.

Print Resources:


----. Four. Santa Fe, N.M: Institute of American Indian Arts, 1965.

Highwater, Jamake. The Sweet Grass Lives on: Fifty Contemporary North American Indian Artists. New York: Lippincott & Crowell, 1980.

Lester, Patrick D. "Kuka, King: Blackfeet." The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. (1995).

Matuz, Roger. St. James Guide to Native North American Artists. Detroit: St. James Press, 1998.

Painter, Robert. The Native American Indian Artist Directory. Albuquerque, N.M: First Nations Art Pub, 1998.

Samuels, Peggy. "Kuka, King." Contemporary Western Artists. (1985).



Allen, Terry, and King D. Kuka. King D. Kuka. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files, 1970.

Online Resources:

Information regarding exhibition of ‘Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains.’


Information on Lyle Heavy Runner and Robert “Rice” Crawford.


Robert “Rice” Crawford family honored in Annual Heart Butte Society Celebration events (2010).


Montana School of Journalism report on Blackfeet tradition.


Yellowstone Galley, artist profile: King Kuka.


Great Falls Tribune, January 22, 2004, obituary: King Kuka


“Kuka-graph” images.

Brief biography on King Kuka.


Blackfeet artist remembered: King Kuka.


Brief profile on Neil Parsons.


Short biography on Neil Parsons.


Document containing information on the Art of Neil Parsons.


Blackfeet artist profiles.


Special Instruction to locate this article: google, type “tipi” in search box on the nativetimes homepage. Click “view all results,” scroll down to number 9, ‘Tipi was center for Nomadic Tribes.’


Cross-reference to Other AIFG Films:






Blackfeet 07: